Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Kerry Emanuel Nails Hal Lewis

Well, not quite, because Emanuel summed it up well before Lewis went off half cocked. Emanuel, for those who don't know is a Professor in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT, and pretty far to the right politically. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, an eminent scholar, but also a member of the National Association of Scholars, a group that believes that universities are dens of nasty socialists. In July of 2010, Emanuel published a comment on the state of climate science on the National Association of Scholars web site. Everyone should read it. RIGHT NOW, that means you.

He clearly understood what was happening

But it turns out that there are not enough mavericks in climate science to meet the media’s and blogosphere’s insatiable appetite for conflict. Thus into the arena steps a whole host of charlatans posing as climate scientists. These are a toxic brew of retired physicists, TV weather forecasters, political junkies, media hacks, and anyone else willing to tell an interviewer that he/she is a climate scientist. Typically, they have examined some of the more easily digestible evidence and, like good trial lawyers, cherry-pick that which suits their agendas while attacking or ignoring the rest. Often, they are a good deal more articulate than actual scientists, who usually prefer doing research to honing rhetorical technique. Intelligent readers/viewers should demand to know the actual scientific backgrounds of these posers and recognize that someone with a background in particle physics or botany may in fact know very little about climate science. Does he/she have a background in atmospheric physics? Can they answer elementary questions about radiative and convective heat transfer, or about the circulation of the ocean and atmosphere? More precisely, does their expertise actually bear on the particular points they are making? It may sound elitist these days, but there is a point to credentials.
Eli added a comment

I would like to thank Prof. Emanuel for his contribution. I grew up scientifically with many who are now well known atmospheric chemists. Our politics were all over the map. Scientific matters were vigorously debated, politics were not terra incognita, but, for issues such as ozone depletion and climate change, the science provided the boundary condition. It is a failure of our politics, better written, public policy, that many believe their policy preferences should set the boundary conditions for science.

To me, and I suspect Prof. Emanuel, the truly worrying thing about humans changing the climate by inadvertance and ignorance is that when the consequences strike, survival will require sacrificing many freedoms.

Others should think about this.

29 comments:

David B. Benson said...

Survival?

Not for many, methinks.

Anonymous said...

I note "the usual suspects" also turn up in the comments to Emanuel's piece, Tom Fuller (how can he still claim to be "neutral"?) and Steve McIntyre, wittering about Muir Russell and Oxburgh as if they were the worst thing since 9/11.

Fuller even brings in the Wegman Report as an authority.

Who will enquire about the Enquiries?

Toby

Anonymous said...

Please; for the record, how many T-bombs exploding in the Earth's atmosphere, does it take to move the Earth into a nuclear winter? How many will end up dead then, for their freedom? Will we then be told it is OK to eat the snow, "because their is no germ's at all... Which is the more abrupt problem? Which has the greater likely-hood to occur in a lifetime. What are the leaders saying? In the Groovy-Grove movie, staring Moloch, 2005 was the year of Cremation, what is your hold up? The uneducated are unable to get a straight answer. Why do you think? When will we all be back at the Midsummer Encampment of '66'? These are important questions, I think. You all got a big heads. Help us, please. How can we possibly make informed decisions, when we are ignorant of the reality of this situation? Thank you all, for your time.

Anonymous said...

I notice Tom Fuller says:

"As we wrote in our book, Climategate did not undermine climate science. It exposed a small group of scientists who played fast and loose with the norms of science for the purposes of advancing a particular view of paleoclimatology,.."

So it was not really about global warming, just the pursuit of a few bad apples.... well, you could have fooled me!!

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, what area of physics did Hal Lewis do his work in.

I keep having this mental image of him nailing his 95 feces to the doors of the APS.

Berbalang

W Flood said...

"Can they answer elementary questions about radiative and convective heat transfer, or about the circulation of the ocean and atmosphere?"

Yes. So does that qualify me? And questions about infra red absorption spectroscopy.

Nobody is a climate scientist in that nobody has a handle on the whole area of knowledge. Each knows a little and brings a little. Sceptics who stray out of their area get found out. Most do not and their opinions are sound. I would like to meet someone who bills themself a "climate scientist". If someone says they are a chemist to me I ask "what field of chemistry is your speciality?" Same with climate scientist.

W Flood

Anonymous said...

Job 37:14-24

Cheers,
P. Jones

Anonymous said...

Kerry Emmanuel is an expert on hurricanes. Originally he was skeptical about whether humans could be causing global warming, but he became convinced after studying the evidence. He co-authored a 2007 book, "What We Know About Climate Change."

-John Farley

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jim Bouldin said...

Kerry's description of the overall situation might is the best one I've read yet.

But, not a good idea at all to let through crap from idiots who want to promote further harassment of Phil Jones.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I admit, I did trick his numbers. We do not want to show, a decline.

EliRabett said...

So someone posted Phil Jones contact information with no conceivable reason other than to harass. Eli zapped it. If you want to harass someone, Climate Audit is the place for you.

EliRabett said...

W., you don't need to know everything about anything, but you do need a toolbox with some appropriate wrenches. Someone well trained in a relatively narrow field has more than a little general knowledge about neighboring areas. Someone trained in left field, has not a clue. For example, Eli could evaluate most AMO physics, and physical chemistry proposals, but would be lost in an NIH panel, or even a biochemistry one.

Anonymous said...

Sorry if I upset anyone. I just cut & paste, what he himself had put up. I did not change a word. If you take the time to look, you will see that it is true. I will not do anything like that again.

David B. Benson said...

P. Jones --- That passage from Job is beautifully written. What was your point?

Anonymous said...

My only grizzle is the overuse of the word "maverick" - especially in the media and by the annoited denierati - to describe some idealogues (scientist or not). I would suggest that rather than being a maverick, some scientists with grand ideas put them about before the data exists to prove or refute these conjectures, and sometimes one of them scores a hit once measuring tools and technology have become more refined. History then records a message of "See! See! What did I tell you? I was right all along!" and stamps the lucky scientist with the tag of "maverick".

Without a telescope there was only so much that a pre-Galilean fellow could confirm or refute, so Galileo was not in my view a "maverick" regarding science. Galileo refuted or confirmed numerous astronomy theories by application of the recent invention, ie the telescope. Someone, who working in isolation, manages to overturn a longstanding scientific conjecture - considered to be correct by most scientists in the field - through a completely different theoretical approach would perhaps qualify as a maverick (Milankovich perhaps?). As for Galileo, he was a maverick regarding the implications for the Catholic religion but that is of no consequence with respect to the scientific inquiries conducted by Galileo.

A more neutral word might be better. Otherwise, it is a decent piece of commentary by Kerry Emanuel. Now: could Kerry submit this in full to "The Australian" newspaper as an article?

Regards,
Donald Oats

EliRabett said...

Donald, a good friend who is a well know atmospheric scientist once explained Lindzen to Eli as someone who made his reputation by going against the conventional wisdom once, and then made a habit of it. At this point it looks like a healthy dose of politics was added.

Russell said...

In addition to radiative forcing, Hal must must now reckon the increase in the geothermal flux from the heat of friction of William F. Buckley and H.L. Mencken spinning in their unquiet graves :

http://www.nationalreview.com/ planet-gore/ 250442/ climate-skepticism-europe-vs-america-sterling-burnett

Horatio Algeranon said...

Donald Oats says History then records a message of "See! See! What did I tell you? I was right all along!" and stamps the lucky scientist with the tag of "maverick".

As you indicate, there are true mavericks in science, but the vast majority of those that the media label "mavericks" (in science, politics and everything else) are not genuine -- have more than a little in common with "psychics", in fact.

Those few (out of millions?) who (by pure chance) get it right every once in a while are held up as soothsayers (geniuses in the case of the "mavericks"), while those who get it wrong (the vast majority) are simply ignored.

...and the psychic (maverick) myths are thereby perpetuated.

Some journalists seem especially enamored with these myths, undoubtedly one reason why they not only survive but actually thrive. In fact, they sometimes even feature themselves as the hero of the myth .

Anonymous said...

To Mr. David B. Benson, It is God, that makes his point. He wrote the book. May I suggest a tried and true way to approach the subject?

John Wycliffe, the first man to translate the Bible into English, gave us a simple rule to Bible reading when he said:

It shall greatly help you to understand scripture, if you mark not only what is spoken or written, but of whom, and to whom, with what words, at what time, where, and to what intent, with what circumstances, considering what goes before and what follows.

Horatio Algeranon said...

It shall greatly help you to understand scripture, if you mark not only what is spoken or written, but of whom, and to whom, with what words, at what time, where, and to what intent, with what circumstances, considering what goes before and what follows."

Just like trying to understand AGW denialists (and Horatio's poems about them ~@:> )

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Anonymous@23/10/10 5:04 AM
So, if we follow Wycliffe's advice will we understand why the Bible defines pi=3?

Frankly, I always found it helped with the Bible to realize it was the product of pre-literate, but still sometimes wise, bronze-age shepherds, was passed down orally for generations and has been selectively edited multiple times to achieve political goals.

Anonymous said...

A__ray..., You, are on the wrong side of the decimal point.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Horatio Algeranon, Sir, after re-reading... You could not have said it better, yourself.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Anonymous,
So I'll take that as a "no," shall I?

So what did you take issue with in my post? Were the Israelites not pre-literate shepherds. Was not Noses in the time of the Bronze Age? Has not the Bible been re-edited for political purposes--or did you not study the Council of Nicea?

Anonymous said...

A__Ray... If you do not love it; you have not read it. Sorry.

Horatio Algeranon said...

Anon laid out what is required to understand religious works (the Bible) but to understand science, one need not (in principle) "mark what is spoken or written, of whom, and to whom, with what words, at what time, where, and to what intent, with what circumstances, considering what goes before and what follows."

The actual meaning of science is completely independent of the scientists. In principle (if he were smart enough and had enough time and resources), Horatio could do all the scientific experiments that have ever been done from scratch and come to an understanding about how nature works without having any knowledge of those who made the original discoveries (and of their "social network" in particular.)

That is precisely why "appeal to authority" holds no weight in science.

In contrast, what anon has described above is the ultimate appeal to authority -- or perhaps appeal to the ultimate authority.

Anonymous said...

Good Morning, Horatio,

Actually both... what anon has described above is the ultimate appeal, to authority -- or perhaps, appeal to the ultimate authority.